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It's Not All Numbers for Nick Plate '17. How Financial Psychology Informs His Work - The Bentley University Newsroom

When did you first become interested in finance?  

When I was a little kid, my dad started me with a brokerage account around the time that the financial crisis happened, and I purchased blue-chip stocks like Ford and U.S. Steel. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to have a brokerage account and be a shareholder of a publicly traded company. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a Finance major and make it my career.  

What interested you in a Psychology minor?  

It’s funny because when I was making my schedule, I added a couple of Psychology courses to fill my courseload and credit requirements, but they ended up being interesting, particularly the way professors approached the topics.   

When you think about finance, oftentimes it’s super above the shoulders – numbers, watching charts – quite different than psychology. But what a lot of people don’t know is that psychology plays a huge role in finance. Once that clicked for me, I thought a background in psychology would be helpful in my career.   

What role does financial psychology play in your job?  

There are computers, algorithms and institutions that do a lot of trading, but at the end of the day, people move the financial markets. And people have emotions that contribute to their financial decisions, often based on behavioral biases. One example is overconfidence bias: If someone had a couple of investments in a specific sector and a strategy that worked well in the past, they may be overconfident in that strategy moving forward. My goal when working with clients is to provide the information necessary for them to make an educated decision by stripping the emotion out of it.